Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rangers held to draw by Hibs

After winning last weeks Old Firm derby the Rangers stared down the path of the remaining campaign with a simple fact, win-out the last three matches and the SPL crown was theirs. While the likes of Hibernian, Aberdeen and Dundee United are certainly not a easy route to trod on, with the championship on the line it is a test that those worthy of the hardware must be able to close out. Unfortunately that "easy route" was not followed and the Rangers were held to a 1-1 draw by Hibernian. The draw pushes Celtic back on top via a two goal differential opening up a truly remarkable fight for the crown in the remaining weeks.

With Andrius Velička back into the starting grid due to a flare-up in Kenny Miller's hamstring problem the Gers showed early attacking promise. After early chances by Pedro Mendes and Kris Boyd were squandered Derek Riordan gave Hibs the shocking lead four minutes before the break. Receiving the ball from Steven Fletcher at the top of the box, he created the smallest amount of the space before sending a pinpoint touch effort into the top right corner of the net. At the break Walter Smith summoned Kyle Lafferty and Nacho Novo to spur the attack on and while the chances were forthcoming, finishing was painfully off-course. Nacho Novo had two strong chances somehow escape the net and with twenty minutes on the clock he seemed to have put the ball over the line before being played being played back in by Ross Chisholm with the referee waiving the play on. Finally with ten minutes on the clock Nacho Novo provided the equalizer as he poached on a close range rebound but despite the Gers attempts the winner, it wasn't to be and the match ended with a draw.

The Rangers return to play on Saturday against Aberdeen.